NHL coaches have plenty on their plates, especially during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy had to tell one of his primary playmakers to stop licking his opponents on top of his other responsibilities.
According to ESPN.com, Cassidy spoke with left winger Brad Marchand prior to Sunday's Game 5 of Boston's second-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The report noted that on Saturday senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell expressed the league's concerns with Marchand licking opponents both to the forward and to Boston general manager Don Sweeney.
"I saw the directive from the league," Cassidy said. "I talked to Marchy about it (and said), 'That's what the league's asked for and we need you on the ice, we need you playing.' So zip it, or whatever term you used."
While one licking incident would be enough to turn heads, Marchand has already licked multiple opponents during the first two rounds of the playoffs.
He licked Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov's face in Game 1 of Boston's first-round series and then licked Lighting forward Ryan Callahan's face in Friday's Game 4. The ESPN report noted Callahan responded to a "low-bridge check" from Marchand by shoving his face, which prompted the Bruins forward to lick him.
NHL Public Relations said there will be discipline if it happens again:
The Bruins have bigger problems to worry about than just the licking, as Tampa Bay has won three straight and holds a commanding 3-1 lead.
Marchand was held without a goal in each of the last three contests after he found the back of the net in Game 1, although he is still contributing considering he tallied two assists in Game 2 and two assists in Game 4.